News — At The Edge — 2/10by@doch_one

News — At The Edge — 2/10

by Doc HustonFebruary 8th, 2018
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<em>The myopia, stupidity and self-serving behavior pervading the political system never cease to amaze common sense.</em>
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The myopia, stupidity and self-serving behavior pervading the political system never cease to amaze common sense.

  • Future issues from the present —disease epidemics and artic mercury— are real yet neglected problems that will affect everyone with the only unknowns how soon and how bad.
  • Present issues bleeding into the future —weaponized data and data collection— must be resolved before they explode.


Future issues from the present –

CDC to cut by 80 percent efforts to prevent global disease outbreak

“Four years after [U.S.]…pledged to help the world fight infectious-disease epidemics such as Ebola [CDC]… is dramatically downsizing its epidemic prevention activities in 39 out of 49 countries…[focusing on] India, Thailand and Vietnam in Asia; Jordan in the Middle East; Kenya, Uganda, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal in Africa; and Guatemala in Central America…[to] scale back…hot spots for emerging infectious disease, such as China, Pakistan, Haiti, Rwanda and Congo….

Global health organizations said critical momentum will be lost…leaving the world unprepared for the next outbreak….[Yet] less than 36 hours…disease and pathogens can travel from a remote village to major cities on any continent to become a global crisis….

200 groups and companies sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary…asking the administration to reconsider…programs they described as essential to health and national security….

[2014] Ebola outbreak cost U.S. taxpayers $5.4 billion…[and] forced several U.S. cities to spend millions in containment, disrupted global business and required the deployment of the U.S. military to address the threat…..

’Like terrorism, you can’t fight it just within our borders. You’ve got to fight epidemic diseases where they emerge….The world remains under-prepared to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks, whether naturally occurring, accidental, or deliberately released…[and] cost of failing to control outbreaks…is far greater than the cost of prevention.’”

Arctic is full of toxic mercury, and climate change is going to release it —

“There are 32 million gallons…of mercury, or the equivalent of 50 Olympic swimming pools, trapped in the permafrost…’twice as much mercury as the rest of all soils, the atmosphere, and ocean combined’…[and] some portion of this mercury will get released into the environment….

Mercury, a naturally occurring element…across the planet — but the Arctic is special. Normally, as plants die and decay, they decompose and mercury is released back to the atmosphere. But in the Arctic, plants often do not fully decompose…[and] can be remobilized again if permafrost thaws.

How much would be released depends on how much the permafrost thaws — which in turn depends on the volume of greenhouse-gas emissions and subsequent warming of the planet. But permafrost thaw has begun in some places….

It could flush out through rivers into the Arctic Ocean…enter the atmosphere. Or both….[Mercury] is damaging to humans and wildlife….

We’re already causing buried mercury to enter the atmosphere by burning coal, which…rains out into the ocean or lakes, it enters the food chain….

When humans consume mercury-laden fish in quantities too large, it can be dangerous — especially for pregnant mothers.’”

Today’s issues bleeding into the future –

Tech is now a weapon for propaganda and the problem is way bigger than Russia —

“’Russian disinformation on the internet [reflects]…a ‘fundamental flaw’ in the digital ecosystem that makes advertising-supported platforms vulnerable to being manipulated by bad actors of all sorts.

There is an implicit alignment in the interests of the large internet platforms and the advertiser….’But when that advertiser…has a nefarious motivation like a disinformation agent, we need to segregate that shared goal between the internet platform and the advertiser. That means we need to figure out who those disinformation agents are’….

[2016] should be seen as the first of many volleys in the digital propaganda wars to come….’Even if we slam the door on the Russians…to use social media to affect elections again…the problem of disinformation…is endemic to internet communications….

[Must] systematically identify all the players…[the] tools they use [in]…the digital advertising industry’….

[We’re] realizing, ‘Wow!….We live in different media environments with different sets of facts…and how can we begin to undo it?’”

Doc Says — Our Emotions, Institutions and Technological Capabilities Are Mismatched_Is the human species special?

U.S. consumer protection official puts Equifax probe on ice —

“Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has pulled back from a full-scale probe of how Equifax…failed to protect the personal data of…143 million Americans….

Trump’s budget chief… has the tools to examine a data breach like Equifax…[but] not permitted [it]… not ordered subpoenas against Equifax or sought sworn testimony from executives, routine steps…[and] shelved plans for on-the-ground tests of how Equifax protects data…[rejecting]…Federal Reserve, [FDIC] and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency when they offered to help with on-site exams of credit bureaus….

[Equifax] is under investigation by every state attorney general [with]…more than 240 class action lawsuits…[and] highlighted how credit bureaus exist in a regulatory gray zone [only]…partly regulated….

CFPB has come under sustained attack from Republicans…[and] Mulvaney put a hold on much agency work when he took over in November.”

Jimmy Fallon Updates Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’” for 2018 (2.75 min video with new lyrics)

Why Congress Doesn’t Always Do the Right Thing —

“[Americans] have urged both parties to set aside differences and find [compromise]…to ‘do the right thing’…[but] structural incentives of the institution… re-election and increased power in the legislature…[usually] shape their decision making….

[The] members should be willing to risk their jobs for the public good, especially on matters of conscience or morality…[yet] might find that the policy is never enacted, or that they are replaced by someone who repeals the policy….

[When] a policy that helps the national economy but costs local jobs, many…oppose the policy…[which] tends to distort public policy toward parochialism and away from the national good….

Complicating this, most citizens do not have consistent opinions about when each role should take precedence….Even worse, determining ‘the right thing’ is largely subjective….

Power in both the House and Senate is structured along party lines…[so] most difficult choices…concern supporting the party position…against the preferences of their constituents….Conversely, departing members of Congress are freed from both the re-election and party power incentives.”

One Story the Media Ignores Completely_Voting is suppose to guarantee you are “represented.” So, if you are over 18 and a citizen you can vote. But, why is…

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May you live long and prosper!Doc Huston